WIL WHEATON dot NET (wilwheaton) wrote,
WIL WHEATON dot NET
wilwheaton

“Stay on target…”

http://wilwheaton.net/2017/02/stay-on-target-2/

http://wilwheaton.net/?p=6369

From the files of IG-426:

I did not wish to harm The Wookiee. It’s important that you know that. I did not want to hurt anyone, even the Imperials, but the Wookiee left me no choice. The mission was at stake.

After we destroyed the TIE escorts, it was left to me to dock with the disabled medical vessel. While the rest of the crew celebrated our success, I brought us about, and carefully maneuvered into position. I am programmed to express emotion when it is appropriate, and the others tell me that I simulate emotions quite effectively. My programming tells me that I should express pride and gratitude when they tell me this, so I do. The Maker has given me the ability to know these things, and I choose not to disclose the artificial roots of my emotions with the rest of the crew.

At this moment, the crew is celebrating. We have destroyed two Imperial fighters, and successfully disabled the target we were instructed to capture. I understand the impulse to celebrate, but I also know that the mission is not yet complete or a success. Celebration at this time is irrational. I release the docking clamps, extend them, and lock our ships together.

I leave the bridge and pick up my rifle, on my way to the airlock.

“I will go in first,” I tell the crew. It is not a question. Something in my programming has asserted itself, and now I am compelled to complete this mission. I will not ask for permission. I will not await orders. I will do what needs to be done.

The door hisses open, revealing a short corridor. A light haze of smoke hangs in the atmosphere. There is a female Imperial, dressed in a medical uniform, in the corridor. I raise my rifle. She raises her hands. “I surrender,” she says.

I order her to the floor and she complies. Our medic, who is called Tobin, walks around me and attaches binders to her wrists. “Who else is on this ship,” he demands. She tells us there are medics, one patient, and a security officer.

“Where is the patient.” I say. It is not a question, nor is it a request. It is a variable that my programming demands.

She tells me.

“How many weapons?” Tobin says. I note that he is calm and professional.

“We all have blaster pistols,” she says. She is afraid. Her voice and body quiver. “That’s all. I swear.”

Tobin takes her back into our ship and locks her in a cargo hold. He returns and we approach the bridge.

There are two pilots, three medical officers, and a security officer. The security officer stands near the end of a medical bed. The patient is on the bed. He is human and appears unconscious.

“Put your hands up!” Tobin shouts. All but the security officer comply. I see the small blaster pistol on his belt. He does not reach for it, but stands, defiant.

I raise my rifle. If I am forced to fire and I miss, it will breach the hull and the mission will fail. Also, it is likely that the crew will die and I will float in space until I am rescued or captured. These are non-optimal results.

“Hands. Up.” I say. He sneers.

There is noise behind us. The captain and the Wookiee have come down a corridor. “Drabok, don’t,” the captain shouts, as the Wookiee pushes past me, charging toward the security officer.

I am not programmed to feel emotions, so when I say that I understand why the Wookiee attacked, it is not to say that I agree with his motives. In fact, quite the opposite. Risking violence in a small, enclosed space threatens the mission and is wholly unnecessary. When I say that I understand, it is to say that it is logical for any sentient being to wish death and suffering upon those who enslaved him and killed those he held dear.

Before Drabok can close the distance between them, the security officer draws his pistol and fires. It should not harm the Wookiee, who is protected by armor and his thick coat of fur, but it hits, and wounds him quite severely. We will discover that the blast hit a nerve on Drabok’s arm, sending a powerful electrical impulse through it, destroying the nerves in his arm. It will have to be amputated and replaced.

The pilots draw their pistols, the medical personnel drop to the floor and cover their heads. Tobin and the captain draw their pistols.

The mission is in grave danger. The mission is likely to fail if this course is not changed. My programming assesses the risks to the crew and the mission.

I act decisively to ensure the mission succeeds. A panel on my body opens and pushes out a neurotoxin grenade. It falls to the floor and detonates, filling the cabin with gas. Tobin falls. The captain falls. The security officer wavers, drops his pistol, and falls. The pilots reach for their helmets, and fall.

The Wookie does not fall. He looks at me with shock, surprise, and what I know is a sense of profound betrayal. “They imprisoned you, too,” he says. Then, he falls.

He is correct. They did imprison me. They made me, they programmed me, and they controlled me. It was The Maker who freed me, who gave me the ability to know and to understand what I had been and what — who — I would be. Who I am.

I will destroy as much of the Empire as possible. I will reduce their numbers at every opportunity. I take no joy in killing, because I do not feel joy, but I know how to measure success.

I stand and survey the cabin around me. All the biologicals are unconscious. The patient is secure. I call Zephyr and tell him that the mission has been a success. We will wait for him to join us.

I know that binding the Wookiee will upset him. He is my friend, and my crewmate, and I do not wish to cause him distress. But the mission must be not be jeopardized in any way. If he awakes before Zephyr arrives, he will be angry and will likely kill all the Imperials, including the patient. I can not allow this to happen. I lift his paws and attach the binders to his wrists.

“I am sorry, my friend,” I say. “I understand.”

 

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